black·​en | \ ˈbla-kən How to pronounce blacken (audio) \
blackened; blackening\ ˈblak-​niŋ How to pronounce blacken (audio) , ˈbla-​kə-​ \

Definition of blacken

intransitive verb

: to become dark or black the sky blackens

transitive verb

1 : to make black
2 : defame, sully blackened her reputation

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Other Words from blacken

blackener \ ˈblak-​nər How to pronounce blacken (audio) , ˈbla-​kə-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for blacken



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Examples of blacken in a Sentence

Fire had blackened the field. The sky blackened as the storm approached. Their false accusations failed to blacken my reputation. a presidency blackened by scandal
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Recent Examples on the Web Moreover, the milk solids in butter can burn and blacken in excessive heat. Washington Post, "How to preheat your skillet to avoid a sticky situation," 8 Mar. 2021 This is a land unsuited for human life, where temperatures dip below minus 50ºC in winter and where mosquitoes blacken the skies in summer. The Economist, "One Russian scientist hopes to slow the thawing of the Arctic," 16 Dec. 2020 Crews are still monitoring the area around the observatory, given that this group of wildfires, known as the SCU Lightning Complex, continues to blacken the region. Matt Simon, Wired, "A California Wildfire Nearly Destroyed the Historic Lick Observatory," 26 Aug. 2020 About 15 million acres have been blackened over the past four months, and more than 100 wildfires are still burning. Jamie Tarabay, New York Times, "‘It’s Going to Be a Blast Furnace’: Australia Fires Intensify," 2 Jan. 2020 Bake the quesadillas until the the tortillas are well browned, but not blackened, 9-10 minutes. Paul Stephen,, "Recipe: Loaded Queso Flameado Quesadilla," 29 Apr. 2020 Aggressive cost cutting has blackened JLR's balance sheets, but the company needs a megahit. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Land Rover Defender 80 Will Be Small, Affordable, but Still Rugged," 16 Apr. 2020 Already blackened and sticky with soot, dust, and residue arising from millions of tourists, worshippers, and votive candles, the windows lack the yellow-powder look. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, "Scientists are leading Notre Dame’s restoration—and probing mysteries laid bare by its devastating fire," 12 Mar. 2020 The Wyndham Riverfront, 1 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock, will offer a 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. brunch buffet, with ham, roast beef, turkey and blackened tilapia and a waffle/omelet station. Eric E. Harrison, Arkansas Online, "FULL LIST: Central Arkansas restaurants open on Christmas Day," 25 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blacken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of blacken

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for blacken

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The first known use of blacken was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Blacken.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for blacken



English Language Learners Definition of blacken

: to make something dark or black or to become dark or black
: to hurt the reputation of (someone or something)


black·​en | \ ˈbla-kən How to pronounce blacken (audio) \
blackened; blackening

Kids Definition of blacken

1 : to make or become dark or black The storm blackened the sky.
2 : spoil entry 1 sense 2 The scandal will blacken his reputation.

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